Sunday, September 10, 2017

Let's Take the Suspense out of Traveling Abroad by Rolynn Anderson

"It’s a bad time to go abroad." 
"I’m afraid to travel."
"The terrorists are everywhere and they’re targeting tourists."

I'm thinking my friends' fears come from media drama and fake news about traveling overseas.  
The truth is, most countries are safer than ever to visit.

Now, I write suspense stories, liberally spiked with romance and exotic settings.  My newly released novel, Cézanne’s Ghost, is set in Aix-en-Provence, France.  It’s true, several of my characters are tourists who suffer in the hands of villains but the chances of my scenario actually happening?  As rare as hen’s teeth. 

In fact, now is the time to book a flight and enjoy a trip to France, Italy, British Columbia, Spain, England, Egypt, many countries!  Of course, you’ll avoid the places where drug and other wars are waging.  My point is, take some time to make rational choices about where and when to go.  Some of my friends have absorbed the fear-mongering and are NOT traveling, which makes me sad.

“In general, a violent death abroad is extremely unlikely. Between 2009 and 2013, 1,151 Americans - out of a population of 316 million - were killed abroad. For comparison, 15,809 homicides occurred in the U.S. in 2014 alone.”

And get this: traffic accidents, suicides, and drownings are far and away the biggest reasons for Americans dying in other countries.  To build a more specific picture, in France, with about 25 million visitors in the last 13 years, 2014, 107 tourists died (mostly from car crashes, suicides and drownings).  This last statistic comes from a very interesting 2016 article in Time Magazine: “How Americans Die Abroad.”

Both of the articles I cite, above, will give you all the information (and more) to allay fears of travel and make wise choices, including a list of the least secure destinations.  My hope is you’ll keep traveling and enjoying a wide range of cultures.

For those of who have flown/driven/cruised to other countries, tell us about your sense of safety/security as you journeyed.  Is there a country you’ve visited lately that didn’t feel safe to you? 

I promise you, Aix-en-Provence is a lovely city, so friendly to Americans.  Yup, I put a few Americans tourists at risk in that town, but that’s what we suspense writers do!  My novel is une turner de page; danger et amour à Aix.  Bon Voyage!

Cézanne’s Ghost-e-book and print

Eight Suspense Novels Spiked with Romance and Exotic Settings

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Jannine Gallant said...

You can either live life in fear or embrace living--both here and abroad. Obviously there are sensible precautions (like not planning a trip to a war zone), but I've never been a worrier. When our kids were little, I knew plenty of moms who wouldn't let theirs play alone in the yard because they were afraid they would get snatched by a kidnapper. Really? We live in a safe, small town where no kid has ever been snatched out of their yard. Chances of getting killed in a car wreck are a whole lot higher. I agree with you fully, Rolynn. Get out there and experience life!

Margo Hoornstra said...

Exactly. No way can we let fear win over living. Yes, things happen, no matter where you may be. When my husband was in basic training in the Army, their message was 'When your number's up, your number's up, and there's nothing you can do about it.' Of course they'd say Jannine says - Get out there and experience life!

Brenda whiteside said...

The first line of Janinne's response says it all. The other two women in my family are afraid of...well, you name it, and boy do they miss out. Of course be sensible, but stop letting the drama of the news rule your life. Remember the days of airline hijacking? At least that doesn't happen anymore. And I flew even then. I don't want to get to the end of my life and regret what I haven't done. Good message, Rolynn.

Leah St. James said...

Great argument, Rolynn. I admit to being a worrier, but I've learned to reason with myself and talk myself out of (most!) irrational fears. Although I haven't traveled abroad, it's been a time and money issue. I still have hopes! That type of fear is similar to those who questioned my son's decision to go to college in Washington, D.C., a year after 9/11. "He'll be a target," they cried. I reasoned there was probably no more secure place to be than within a dozen(ish?) blocks from the White House!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Amen, Jannine! Most neighborhoods are safe here in the U.S., but many parents are afraid to let their kids walk or bike to school and back. Have you seen the lines of parent cars picking up kids at school...even middle and high school? I suspect those same people are afraid to travel abroad, expecting the worst...and transferring that fear of other cultures to their kids.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Margo, that's a great saying! We have to let go of the illusion we have control over everything. And watch less of the trumped up drama on TV news.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, thanks for reminding us of that airline hijacking period. (I wonder if the undercover marshals are still riding around the world, one per airplane) The statistics show we're more likely to be in a car crash a 20 mile radius from home (or overdose on opiods) than ever go down in a plane, hijacked or not.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Leah, you are right. In fact, it's probably best to travel to the last place that had any kind of a scare...Barcelona would be a good spot right now, with new security measures in place. The promenade there is so much have to go...and soon! A tip: save credit card points...we do most of our flights/hotels on points. And don't forget our neighbors to the north. We had two fun weeks in Quebec City this summer...felt like France, but closer and cheaper to get to!

Diane Burton said...

You make many good points, Rolynn. I've become a homebody, content to do my traveling via books and magazine articles. Part of the reason is apprehension but mainly mobility issues. Reluctantly, I've admitted my limitations. But I can travel to France in your book and to all the fantastic venues others write about. I'm grateful for that.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Diane, there's no question that travel is hard work. I heft a back pack and a carry on suitcase, as does my hub...for two months at a time. And don't you know, so many quaint towns are former fortresses, built on the top of hills! Lots of strenuous walking for visitors of a place like Quebec City. Thanks to Google and fiction/non-fiction writers for taking us on inexpensive and vicarious tours of the world!

Rolynn Anderson said...

You're right, Alicia. A good guide will raise interest and enthusiasm for a place...and I remember more about the experience because of a good tour guide. My husband is more of a history buff than I am...he likes to task the guides with tough questions :-)